1953: LE MANS C-TYPES ARRIVE HOME
After their 1953 Le Mans tour de force, Jaguar's C-types returned to pomp and ceremony at Browns Lane. The Le Mans 24 Hours of 1953 was a milestone for Jaguar. The company's C-types, equipped with revolutionary new disc brakes, were in a class of their own.
The cars and their drivers returned from France to a heroes' welcome from the Browns Lane workforce, who turned out in their thousands. Works drivers Tony Rolt and Duncan Hamilton (car number 18) finished first, as the first pairing ever to set an average of more than 100mph, with Stirling Moss and Peter Walker (car 17) second, and Peter Whitehead and Ian Stewart (car 19) fourth. A private entry driven by Ecurie Francorchamps' Charles de Tornaco and Roger Laurent (car 20) finished in ninth place.
Jaguar's publicity department quite rightly went into overdrive to highlight the achievement, even sending the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II a telegram. It read: "The Jaguar team humbly present their loyal duty to Her Majesty and wish to advise Her that in Her coronation year they have won for Britain the world's greatest international car race at Le Mans, France, yesterday.
The recipient was gracious enough to reply through her private secretary, saying: "The Queen was very pleased to learn of the success of the Jaguar team. Please convey Her Majesty's sincere thanks to all members of it for their kind and loyal message."
[Issue 2, 2008]